Immigration officials have been ordered to not communicate with Joe Biden’s transition team until Trump formally recognizes a winner of the election. In internal emails obtained by Buzzfeed, a message was sent out last Thursday to a group of policy staffers at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) telling them not to work with the Biden team on a transfer of power plan.
The Biden administration has already begun picking staffers, and have appointed Ur Jaddou, a former lead USCIS official, to head the team responsible for reviewing the Department of Homeland Security as part of the transition.
However, Jaddou is unable to do anything or coordinate with anyone who is currently in office until Emily Murphy, a Trump-appointed administrator of the General Services Administration, writes a letter of “ascertainment” recognizing the outcome of the election.
While the COVID-19 public health crisis and its impact on the U.S. economy will preoccupy President-elect Joe Biden during his first weeks in office, the incoming Democratic administration is also expected to quickly start dismantling Pres. Trump's immigration agenda. pic.twitter.com/lIPoBzembE
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 11, 2020
The message read: “I am providing the information below to clarify where things stand regarding a potential transition of administration. The GSA Administrator has not yet announced ascertainment of an apparent winner of the presidential election. She will not do so until she deems the results ‘clear.’ Until then, we all remain in a pre-election posture which [means] that there should not be any communication with the team.”
The message went on to instruct all employees to avoid any contact with the Biden team until they are told to.
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) November 10, 2020
Biden has signaled that he intends to make sweeping changes to immigration.
Biden reportedly plans to implement a 100-day deportations moratorium and restrict who can be arrested and deported by ICE.
A source familiar with Biden’s plans said new guidance would be designed to curb so-called “collateral arrests.”
The incoming Biden administration also hopes to reinstate an Obama-era program that allowed at-risk children in Central America to request refugee or parole status and reunite with their parents in the US. He also intends to increase the cap of refugees from 15,000 to 125,000.
NEW — President-elect Biden is set to start reversing Pres. Trump's immigration legacy.
— Camilo Montoya-Galvez (@camiloreports) November 11, 2020
He also intends to repeal the travel ban that the Trump administration put on many Muslim-majority countries. He will also reinstate the “dreamers” program, which allows immigrants who have been in the country since they were children to stay regardless of their immigration status.
Biden’s team is also promising to begin the process of terminating the “public charge” rules that the Trump administration implemented to deny green cards and immigrant visas to applicants who US authorities determine might rely on government assistance in the future.